Zimmerman's MRI negative; plus other injury notes

Zimmerman's MRI negative; plus other injury notes
April 6, 2014, 5:45 pm
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Ryan Zimmerman's MRI shows no structural damage

An MRI on Ryan Zimmerman's right shoulder revealed no structural damage, just inflammation, Nationals manager Matt Williams said on Sunday. The Nats' third baseman will now rest on the team's off-day and be reevaluated Tuesday.

Zimmerman actually pinch-hit for the Nationals in the eighth inning of Sunday's 2-1 win over the Braves, despite taking the day off due to shoulder pain. Manager Matt Williams put Zimmerman in the game because the shoulder does not act up when he swings.

"Swinging is fine. The issue he's got is probably throwing overload. He throws a lot and he works at it really hard so it may be a little overload at this point," Williams said.

Williams and the Nationals will now look at ways to adjust Zimmerman's throwing workload. That could mean limiting his practice before games.

"We look at it and say 'it's a little bit of overload.' So we have to curtail that just a touch to make sure he feels good. What does that involve? Maybe it doesn't involve as many throws. Maybe it's cutting down the amount of grounders he takes in pregame. I know that he likes to go down, especially when it's cold, to the cage and throw. Maybe it's an adjustment to that, too."

The Nationals have revealed plans to try Zimmerman out at first base this season at some point. It could be a good solution for him long-term given he would remain in the lineup without having to throw across the diamond.

For now, however, Williams doesn't see that as imminent.

"I think we'll do what we have to do, but I envision him playing third base. That's the plan, but of course you have to look at things and adjust if need be. As of right now, as soon as he feels good he'll be back at third."

Williams did not rule out keeping Zimmerman out of the lineup, but on the roster for pinch-hit situations. The skipper is hopeful a few days off will do the trick and alleviate the soreness.

"What we need to do is make sure that he's good. We'll take the appropriate steps to make sure his arm feels good. Once it does then he's going to play third for us. Until that time there may be some adjustment within there, but I don't anticipate it being a long time."

Zimmerman left Saturday's game after committing a throwing error and feeling discomfort in his shoulder. It is not clear how long he will be out of the lineup.

Fister will move forward with throwing program after playing catch Sunday

Doug Fister played catch from 60 feet on Sunday before the Nationals' 2-1 victory over the Braves and felt no discomfort in either his back or elbow, manager Matt Williams said.

Williams shared the good news after the win:

"He threw today out to 60. No issues. We'll continue that progress so the next step is to 90 and then beyond that. We'll get him back going off a mound. He's probably looking at a flat ground first, then off the mound and progress. But today was no problem."

For more on Fister's rehab from pitching coach Steve McCatty, see this story from pregame.

Harper gets day off, will likely be back in lineup on Tuesday

Matt Williams gave Bryce Harper the day off after the struggling outfielder showed visible frustration on Saturday night with an emotional outburst in the team's dugout. Harper is just 3-for-21 on the season and told reporters later that night he felt "lost."

Williams was asked on Sunday if Harper's struggles have anything to do with the hit he took to the head on Opening Day from Eric Young, Jr. of the Mets.

"I don't think so. He's shown no ill-effects. He was tested that day, he was tested the following day and the following day. I don't think so, his timing's off. He got frustrated. It's one swing away from turning it around, too. That's young players and he's still very, very young. It's going to turn, though."